Benjamin Franklin V has been devoted to Anaïs Nin studies since 1966, the year the first volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin was published, catapulting her from decades of obscurity to instant fame and acceptance from a wide audience. Despite all the hoopla surrounding Nin, Franklin was determined to go about the meticulous business of compiling a complete list of all her work, resulting in Anaïs Nin: A Bibliography in 1973, the first and only such compilation. He then collaborated with Duane Schneider on Anaïs Nin: An Introduction, which came out in 1979. In 1996 he compiled and edited Recollections of Anaïs Nin.
Since then, he has spearheaded the republication of The Winter of Artifice, the lost 1939 edition; he authored the Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts, compiled, edited and introduced The Portable Anaïs Nin, and has written the introduction to the upcoming Trapeze: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1947-1955. He is a frequent contributor to A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal.
Dr. Franklin not only studied Anaïs Nin, but also knew her and worked with her for several years. His experience with Nin, along with his extensive work on her, gives him a unique understanding of both the writer and the work, and he tells all during this podcast. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in Anaïs Nin and the history of Nin scholarship.
Run time: 47:06
To listen to the podcast in iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
Comments are welcome.
This past year has been a busy one when it comes to new Anais Nin-related publications, and we want to make it simple for you to keep up to date. Here is a list of the latest Nin titles available at the Kindle store or app, beginning with the most recent:
ANAIS: An International Journal, vol. 4, edited by Gunther Stuhlmann, originally published in 1986. This issue is dedicated to the memory of Nin’s husband, Hugh (Hugo) Guiler, his life and his art, with contributions from art critics, Nin’s brother Joaquin, and Guiler himself. Also included are important letters between Henry Miller and Anais Nin regarding their respective writing efforts, which shed light on the degree of influence each had on the other. Studies of Otto Rank, Nin’s friend Caresse Crosby, ancient Japanese poetry, and Nin’s writing round out the issue. For more on this title, click here.
The Authoritative Edition of The Four-Chambered Heart. The third novel of the Cities of the Interior series comes with an introduction by Anais Nin, character descriptions, publishing history and author chronology. For more on this title, click here.
The Authoritative Edition of Children of the Albatross. The second novel in the series entitled Cities of the Interior. The introduction is culled from Nin’s own words, and also included are character descriptions, publishing history, and a chronology of Nin’s life and work. For more on this title, click here.
The Authoritative Edition of Ladders to Fire. Anais Nin’s first full-length novel comes with the original prologue, character descriptions, publishing history, and a chronology of Nin’s life and work. For more on this title, click here.
ANAIS: An International Journal, vol. 3, edited by Gunther Stuhlmann. Originally published in 1985; available digitally for the first time. With excerpts from Anais Nin’s diary, the work of Anna Kavan and Julieta Campos; articles by Otto Rank, Philip Jason, Tristine Rainer, et al. For more on this title, click here.
The Novel of the Future. Contains the whole of Anais Nin’s writing theory, beginning with “proceed from the dream outward…” Available as an ebook for the first time.
The Quotable Anais Nin, 365 quotations with citations. A quote for each day of the year, cited with book title and page number—the only such book completely devoted to Anais Nin.
Anais Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts by Benjamin Franklin V. A complete guide to all of Anais Nin’s fictional characters—with descriptions and sources—as well as an index to all quotations from the previously unpublished diaries.
ANAIS: An International Journal, vol. 2, edited by Gunther Stuhlmann. Originally published in 1984; available digitally for the first time. With excerpts from Anais Nin’s diary and articles by Nin scholars Philip K. Jason, Suzette A. Henke, as well as Harry T. Moore.
Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947. After a seventeen year wait, finally the sequel to Nin’s unexpurgated diaries is here. An inspiring and cathartic journey through the many relationships and works of art in 1940s New York. Details about Nin’s connections with Gore Vidal, Henry Miller, Gonzalo Moré, and Rupert Pole.
A Café in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal, vol. 11, edited by Paul Herron. Excerpts from Anais Nin’s 1950s diaries; the controversy over Alfred Perlès’s My Friend Henry Miller; articles by Kim Krizan, Jean Owen, John Tytell et al.
Stay tuned–more titles are in the works!
Nin scholar Benjamin Franklin V has culled more than 750 Anais Nin fictional characters, naming them, describing them, and cross-referencing them with the books in which they appear. He also has compiled a list of excerpts taken from Nin’s unpublished diaries and indexed them, providing Nin fans and scholars alike with a resource found nowhere else.
What makes the electronic version of the Anais Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts even more valuable is the fact it is electronically searchable.
To order the digital version of Anais Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary excerpts, click here.
To order the print version, click here.
By the time Anaïs Nin returned to New York in late 1939, driven from Paris by the war, she had already begun writing a series of short stories that would be collected under the title of Under a Glass Bell. According to Benjamin Franklin V’s Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts, Nin self-published (Gemor Press) the original collection in 1944, which contained the following stories: “Birth,” “House Boat,” “Je Suis le Plus Malade Des Surrealistes Antonin Artaud,” “The Labyrinth,” “The Mohican,” “The Mouse,” “Rag Time,” and “Under a Glass Bell.” For the 1948 Dutton edition, Nin added the titles “The Child Born out of the Fog,” “The Eye’s Journey,” “Hejda,” and “Through the Streets of My Own Labyrinth.”
Before Nin released her now-famous diaries in 1966, she spent decades promoting her fiction, sometimes by reading passages or entire stories during lectures—in this case it is the title story “Under a Glass Bell.” It is very possible that this audio recording was made not long after Swallow Press re-released the collection in the early 1960s.
The story, as Nin reads it, is reminiscent of the incestuous isolation that is the theme of her first fictional work House of Incest or Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles. Nin’s delivery gives the story a dimension that may otherwise be undetectable. It is advised to empty your mind and let Nin’s words take it on a short but fascinating journey.
To listen to the 18 minute sound clip, click here. (Courtesy of The Anaïs Nin Trust; all rights reserved)
To listen to Young and Hugh Guiler discuss Nin’s diary, click here.
For more information on Under a Glass Bell, click here.
To order the digital version of Under a Glass Bell, click here.
To order the print version of Under a Glass Bell, click here.
How does one sort through hundreds of websites to find elusive Anais Nin titles? We’ve compiled a concise list to help you out.
To purchase a book that was once a part of Rupert Pole’s and Anais Nin’s personal collection at their Silver Lake house in Los Angeles, including rare and out of print titles, click here.
To find and purchase any title Swallow Press published (virtually all of Nin’s fiction and other titles as well), click here.
In the past year, several Nin titles have been made available as ebooks. To search the ever-growing list, click here.
To find the print versions of Nin’s (both original and unexpurgated) diaries, click here.
To locate Nin’s erotica, click here.
To examine or order print versions of A Cafe in Space, the only current Anais Nin literary journal, click here.
Sky Blue Press has the only print version of the original The Winter of Artifice, a facsimile of the Obelisk Press edition that was, according to Nin herself, banned in America. There are still copies of this limited printing left. To find out about the book, or to order, click here.
A complete list of all of Nin’s fictional characters is collected in Anais Nin Character Dictionary. To learn about this title, click here.
Are we missing anything? If so, leave a comment and we’ll attempt to answer all questions.
Children of the Albatross, which has just been published on Kindle, is considered by many to be one of Anaïs Nin’s most beautiful books; it is also a groundbreaker in that it eloquently addresses androgyny and homosexuality, which few literary works dared to do in 1940s America. What follows is an “unprofessional” analysis of the book, in which we are introduced to three of Nin’s most iconic characters: Djuna, Lillian, and Sabina, all of whom represent different aspects of Nin’s character—serenity, earthiness, and the femme fatale, respectively.
This new authoritative edition includes an introduction by Nin, character sketches drawn from Benjamin Franklin’s Nin Character Dictionary, and a complete publishing history of the title.
The novel is divided into two sections, “The Sealed Room,” in which we follow Djuna’s developing perception of sexuality, and “The Café,” in which the nature of each of the three female characters’ relationships with the powerful, omnipotent painter Jay, whom Nin fashioned after Henry Miller.
In “The Sealed Room,” young Djuna is in an orphanage, perhaps a metaphor for Nin’s sense of abandonment by her father at the age of ten, and is confronted by the “watchman,” a vile man who trades freedom for sexual favors. Later she is molested by her dance teacher. Symbolic of Nin’s own struggle to free herself of overly powerful, masculine men (Paco Miralles—dance teacher who tried to seduce her; her father—incest; Henry Miller—emotional betrayal), Djuna’s quest for freedom was for Michael, a young effeminate man (based on her cousin Eduardo Sánchez), with whom she seeks a complete love but fails because of his homosexuality. Djuna encounters Donald (after Robert Duncan), Lawrence (“Pablo” of the diary), and the seventeen year old Paul (Bill Pinckard) with whom she shares a nurturing (and sexual) relationship.
“The Café” brings together the three female characters (Sabina, Lillian and Djuna) with Jay (after Miller), who is a painter with whom all three woman have had a relationship. In this segment of the novel we find out, through the characters, how Nin’s relationship with Miller had different stages and levels. Just as the female characters have conflicts in their approach to Jay, Nin’s internal conflicts regarding Miller ultimately resulted in estrangement. The book concludes after Michael and Donald appear at the café, in effect bringing relationships from various times and places together as Jay drags Djuna from her “cities of the interior” into life.
It is interesting to note that the title “The Sealed Room” is a reference to Anaïs Nin’s house in Louveciennes, France, which had one window that was eternally shuttered and appeared to be present for symmetry alone. The “room” which didn’t exist behind this window became an important metaphor for Nin’s interior vision. She also compared the sealed room to her diary, which was the repository that fed her fiction. This reminds us of the fact that Nin was criticized (and indeed she criticized herself at times) for not being able to invent, to compose fiction purely from the imagination. But what she did was to use the components of the diary as an ingredient in what can be considered a sort of “alchemy,” what she termed a “distillation” that became a unique type of fiction that was, unfortunately, almost totally incompatible with the times (1930s to 1950s) during which it was published.
There are several levels at which her fiction can be read—there is the remarkable and distinct prose, which some compare to French surrealism and which uses words in unique ways (consider the word “ensorcell,” for example); there is the psychological aspect of her writing, in which there is a constant search for identity, the understanding of the dynamics of relationships, and the impact of the past on the present; there is the struggle for self-awareness and self-evolution, which makes her writing relevant to this day. We see ourselves, our struggles, our pain, our hell, in Nin’s work, and when her characters somehow survive and grow, we are inspired. Her work can be considered a mirror in which we see ourselves, which gives it a sort of secret personal touch that is sometimes missing in contemporary fiction. It is also why few can agree on the particulars of Anaïs Nin’s body of work, because we all see it in our own way.
When Children of the Albatross was first released by Dutton in 1947, it met with mixed reviews—one of the usual complaints was that Nin’s fiction is light on plot and heavy in the sorts of things that, although they wouldn’t admit it, the critics simply didn’t understand. In the 1940s, literary critics were looking for realism, sequence, solid characters with solid descriptions. Nin offered none of these characteristics in her fiction and therefore it was difficult to get a decent review or to sell many copies to middle American readers.
Today, because it offers deep insight into Nin’s inner life within its beautifully written passages, it is considered one of her most effective works, and it is also recognized as one of the first American titles by a female author to consider male homosexuality.
Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts by Benjamin Franklin V has been reviewed by someone who happens to know a bit about Nin bibliography—Valerie Harms, whose Magic Circle Press published Waste of Timelessness and Other Early Stories, culled from Nin’s early fiction. In Harms’ review, she concludes: “This book belongs in the personal library of all those who love Nin’s work and to university and public libraries around the world.” You can read the entire review by clicking here.
Both A Café in Space, Vol. 6 and Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts are now available for shipping. All of you who have ordered either or both titles will be receiving yours very soon.
Benjamin Franklin V, arguably the world’s foremost Nin scholar, has been in the business of sorting out the facts of Anaïs Nin’s bibliography for decades. Not only did he co-establish the first true Nin periodical (Under the Sign of Pisces), he has compiled Nin’s works thoroughly and edited a book of Nin’s contemporaries’ memories of Nin (Recollections of Anaïs Nin by her Contemporaries). He also spearheaded and introduced the recently published uncut Obelisk Press version of The Winter of Artifice. Now, Franklin has given all Nin readers and scholars an invaluable gift: a complete list of descriptions and bibliographic sources for each and every character Nin use in her published fiction, more than 800 of them, from Abelard to Zora, with Djuna, Jay, Lillian, and Sabina in between. Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts also includes an index of every person, place, or title mentioned in every diary excerpt to appear outside the published diaries before they were printed, and this includes diaries that remain unpublished to this day.
This book will be released the same day as Volume 6 of A Café in Space, Anaïs Nin’s 106th birthday, Feb. 21, 2009.